There are ways to keep the hackers at bay—for the most part, anyways, since no protection is 100 percent efficient.
#1 Password protect.
A device lost or stolen puts all your accounts at risk. Even simply placing your devices on your desk, they can be accessed by a nosy spouse, contractor or baby sitter, putting your accounts at risk. All of your devices should be protected by a password or some kind of passcode, and set to lock up or hibernate after a certain period of inactivity. The lock can be a fingerprint or even a picture password.
Even if you’re the only person who uses your device, having a password is very important because you never know when someone may be able to abscond with your device, then pose as you in your Facebook account.
#2 Log out.
Setting your device to automatically get you onto a social media site eliminates the hassle of having to enter your username and password every time you want to visit the site. However, if the wrong person gets ahold of your computer, mobile or tablet, that person can easily get into your social media accounts. Log out.
#3 Remove apps you don’t use.
If your accounts like Facebook and Twitter are linked to a bunch of third-party apps and services that have accumulated over time, sift through these and knock out the ones you don’t use.
Each third-party app has the potential to act as a portal to hackers. In fact, every so often, go through these to weed out ones you don’t need anymore. Even legitimate applications can open doors of opportunity to hackers because their databases can become infiltrated.
#4 Two-step Verification.
With this, the login process has an extra step if you sign in on a different device. This means that crooks can’t get on with only your password and username. They need the extra code of two-step.
For instructions on how to set this up for social media, here are some common sites that provide them: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Gmail, Tumblr, Dropbox
#5 Don’t get reeled in.
Don’t blindly click on links in e-mails or instant messenger programs! Even if the link comes from a sender you know, that “sender” could actually be a fake sender line generated by a hacker.
Contact the person separately in a new e-mail and ask if they sent you a link. If the link is from a business, go to the business’s site rather than clicking its alleged link in your e-mail.
Though Web browsers and e-mail programs can spot these “phishing” attacks, they miss some; just don’t click on links inside an e-mail.
#6 Encrypt internet connections.
Whenever connecting to any critical account make sure the page you are connecting to is HTTPS, which the “S” makes it a “secure” page. Otherwise on open unsecured, unencrypted wireless, connect only using security software such as Hotspot Shield which encrypts all your wired and wireless communications.
#7 Easy Passwords.
The easier a password is for you to handle and remember, the easier it is for a hacker to crack. Stop using “princess” and 123456 as your passwords. Use a gibberish of characters that have no pattern and do not use words that can be found in a dictionary.
A password manager can help you manage a ton of passwords. Use different passwords for all of your accounts and include upper and lower case letters.
#8 Beef up password resets.
Review the social network’s password reset procedure. See if there are other measures they offer for restoring a hacked account, and get those activated. An example would be Facebook’s Trusted Contacts feature.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.